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The beauty of democracy is that power rests with the people and the exercise of this power produces stronger and accountable governance. It is encouraging to see the quality of discussions among the electorate leading up to the next general election. The elevation of our debates in this regard is evidence that the Bahamian populace has matured politically and we are very much in tune with the issues that plague our nation. It is fair to state that Bahamians of all social strata and across the political divide are fed up with the status quo of political rhetoric and propaganda. The Bahamian electorate is unified in demanding true accountability and solutions from our political leaders. This paradigm shift and overhaul of politics as we once knew it constitutes a changing of the guard.
The governing party's problems
In the run-up to the general election, each major political party has intensified its campaign with advertisements, posters and billboards. It is disappointing to say the least that some of our political parties are still stuck in the quicksand of old politics as they have shifted from the non-resonating message of proven leadership to the invocation of scandals that have plagued opposition administrations. The paid adverts have sought to paint each other and the relevant leader as corrupt with recurrent references to the "cookie jar".
In the height of this election season, political strategists must be reminded of the legal maxim that states "he who comes to equity must come with clean hands". In essence, he who alleges wrong against a party or another must show that he is doing so in good faith having done no wrong himself. The maxim is quite similar to the words of Jesus Christ that "he who is without sin should cast the first stone". The Free National Movement (FNM) has been studious in its documentation of the scandals of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) between 2002 and 2007. However, the reality is that the current administration has been plagued with its own share of scandals as well.
In the case of the FNM administration between 2007 and 2012, the allegations against its Cabinet have been numerous throughout its five-year term in office and spans across all ministerial portfolios including local government, education, finance, foreign affairs, national security, immigration, works and transport.
The widely publicized Aga Khan and Bell Island scandal and alleged awarding of contracts to special interests readily comes to mind. It is also difficult to omit the granting of citizenship to immigrants in what was seen as a non-transparent process, as well as the visit of Haitian President Michel Martelly and his controversial remarks to persons of Haitian descent during a meeting also come to mind. The most recent miscue was the prime minister's overt remarks that The Bahamas would not be drilling for oil with full knowledge that exploration licenses had been issued to the British listed public company, Bahamas Petroleum. The remarks caused a one-third decrease in the share value of that company.
The point here is that Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham like many of his predecessors locally and contemporaries internationally has had to deal with his fair share of scandals, some carried out by ministers who have been given the opportunity to run in multiple general elections. It is imperative to state that no political leader is exempt from scandals. Political leaders, however, must display true integrity by exerting honesty and transparency toward those who follow them and have entrusted them with power to administer the proverbial "cookie jar". Any alleged impropriety, corruption or looting of the public treasury should be investigated and not used for political gain or brownie points. Culprits should be prosecuted if there is sufficient evidence to support such allegations.
What we should be discussing
The political parties must return to the issues that are of the utmost importance to the Bahamian electorate. They should be sensitive to, and show some care and concern for, the matters that touch the lives of everyday Bahamians instead of taking us back to the old politics that we no longer welcome. Just to refresh our political leaders' memories, we are concerned about the state of our economy and the multiple downgrades from international rating agencies; the country's borrowing cost increase and level of investor confidence in our Bahamaland. Our economy is in a fragile state; unemployment remains high; illegal immigration is still plaguing our nation; our education system is failing the youth; crime continues to spiral out of control and labor unrest has been the order of the day. Additionally, there has been insignificant and insufficient injection of foreign direct investment to create jobs and opportunities for the Bahamian people to spur economic growth and ultimately increase government revenue.
Each political party must take responsibility for the state of affairs in The Bahamas while they were in office and effectively convince the Bahamian people why they should be given another term in office. Faced with similar socio-economic challenges of the current administration, the Pindling administration did not have the luxury in the 1992 general election of blaming the state of affairs of the country on the worst recession since the great depression which took place in the late 1930s or the ailing world economy. A new generation of Bahamians accepted the FNM's message of change and hence ushered Hubert Ingraham into office in a historical changing of the guard in Bahamian politics since 1967.
The Ingraham-led administration was voted out of office in a landslide PLP victory in 2002; a clear and forceful message by the electorate that it was time to once again change the guard. During the 2007 general election, the FNM campaigned against the PLP on the high crime rate, the country's national debt, scandals and leadership leading yet again to a change of the guard. Five years later, it is ironic that the FNM seems to be faced with a flipped script with a record crime rate, the highest level of national debt in the country's history accompanied with its own share of scandals. Like past governments, the FNM government must face the Bahamian people who have the right, opportunity and privilege to change the guard if they so desire.
This general election will represent the final showdown between two formidable political contemporaries and adversaries. Whatever transpires, we are witnessing the historical end to one of the greatest political eras in the Caribbean region, which would have spanned over 50 years and involved one man and his two prodigies. The 2012 general election will bring about a notable changing of the guard and will usher in a new era in Bahamian politics.
o Arinthia S. Komolafe is an attorney-at-law. Comments can be directed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FREEPORT, The Bahamas - The Grand Bahama branch of the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) recently received a donation of hammers, gloves, shovels and other equipment from Bahama Rock, the Reef Ball Foundation, Paradise Cove and ES Caribbean. The donation is a great example of a partnership between local and international organizations helping each other to help protect the environment.
"The BNT is appreciative of the tools donated through this partnership, which will significantly assist with ongoing work at the Rand Nature Center and Lucayan National Park," commented Lakeshia Anderson, Grand Bahama Parks manager. "We certainly look forward to building this relationship with these partners, to advance further conservation work in Grand Bahama."
Thanks to Bahama Rock's donation, volunteers were able to assist with preparing the reef balls for deployment into the water. Students from The College of Bahamas (COB), the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) Rangers, St. George's Marine Conservation Group, and Lucaya International School were all a part of the initiative. While helping with the reef balls, the students participating all got a chance to learn about the importance of conservation and preservation of our shorelines.
With the reef ball project coming to an end, a decision has been made to re-donate the items to the BNT for use with national park maintenance on Grand Bahama. The donation was greatly appreciated by the BNT, as the supplies which were donated are a necessity when it comes to maintaining the parks.
Cheri Wood, a BNT member and volunteer noted, "Let this stand as a shining example of people and businesses that really care about the future of our environment and understand that we all must help each other if we are to succeed in keeping our island beautiful and healthy for generations to come."
Enough is enough. Once again the New Providence landfill is on fire and Bahamians continue to suffer the ill-effects of poor management to safeguard our health. The prevalence of spills, leaks, fires or other incidents across the archipelago warrant immediate attention by government to implement regulations and enforce accountability. And the government especially should seek to live up to the standards set out in law.
Since the Environmental Health Services Act was enacted in 1987 few of the recommended regulations have been properly implemented, much to the detriment of the Bahamian people. Regulations for the collection and disposal of waste only came to fruition in 2004. In fact, the act explicitly recommends measures for the prevention and control of pollution of the air, contaminated land and water. While we can praise such forethought, successive efforts to enact final environmental legislation continue to fail.
The Planning and Subdivision Act 2010 may be considered a small victory for the natural environment with its attempt to promote sustainable development through planning policy. On the positive side, it briefly outlines the requisites for an environmental impact assessment or statement, but it hardly satisfies the need for more stringent controls to prevent and hold accountable the release of harmful substances into the environment. Surprisingly, the Department of Environmental Health Services does support an Environmental Monitoring and Risk Assessment Division; yet its absence from public discourse provides little assurance.
The Bahamian people are justified in their outcry over the lingering dump fires. The government's request for nearby residents to keep doors and windows closed is not a long-term solution. Even more so, the public ought to know the extent of adverse impairment to ambient air quality. We would be naive to assume that all garbage in the New Providence landfill is adequately sorted, eliminating the presence of potentially hazardous substances.
But dangers to human health and the environment also lurk within the land. Contamination of land, particularly below the surface, is difficult to detect and when discovered it is prohibitively expensive to remediate. Earlier this year, an underground gasoline leak was discovered at a Robinson Road gas station. Residents with water wells were right to voice concern over the lack of information provided about the leak. The Ministry of the Environment and Housing engaged a Canadian firm, SENES Consultants Limited, to investigate and submit a report to the government, a report not likely to be disclosed to the public.
Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett, in response to the gas station leak, noted that the government is looking to impose stiffer penalties for environment-based offenses. Such a practice may enhance vigilance and hold accountable private businesses, but what about the potential adverse impacts from government-owned entities such as BEC and the landfills? BEC admits lagging behind on maintenance and using Bunker C, a known dirty fuel. Can the government assure residents that smoke stack emissions meet international air quality standards? What about car and bus emissions, or even cruise ship emissions while they are downtown?
As an active participant in numerous United Nations environmental conventions, The Bahamas cannot feign ignorance over the cumulative hazards to human health and the environment. The expansion of environmental education through community programs by the Bahamas National Trust and Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation is building awareness. Exerting greater control over the accountability for harmful releases into the environment would surely benefit the Bahamian people. International standards from recognized entities such as ASTM International exist to identify recognized environmental conditions and determine steps for containment and removal.
Bahamians should expect more from their government regarding the safeguard of human health and the environment. The government has the blueprint and the knowledge, it simply needs greater pressure from the people to act.
"Flower of Dreams", a collection of floral paintings by Lisa Quinn of Bermuda, opened Thursday, April 11 at the Antonius Roberts Studio and Gallery at Hillside House. For more information, visit http://www.antoniusroberts.com/, email email@example.com or call 322-7678.
"Responsible Faith" opens Wednesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. at The Ladder Gallery, New Providence Community Centre, Blake Road. Artists will paint on 55-gallon metal drums, which will be exhibited and then donated to community parks. The drum covers will be used to create wall art for a permanent collection at The Ladder Gallery. Some will also be sold to benefit ACE Diabetes.
The College of The Bahamas hosts its annual "Colour of Harmony", organized by the Department of Visual and Performing Arts in the college's Performing Arts Centre at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 17. The annual event showcases the talents of art and music majors and recognizes a significant contributor to the development of the arts in The Bahamas through the presentation of the E. Clement Bethel Award. The event begins with a concert, featuring selections by music students and is followed by an exhibition, featuring the work of art students.
"Tropical Alchemy", original art works by Tyler Johnston, opens Thursday, April 18 at at Popopstudios ICVA in Chippingham. This exhibition focuses on three inter-related bodies of work: maps of inheritance, power objects and transmutational icons. Rich in texture and color, Johnston has painted and assembled simple objects that he has found, allowing them to be transformed into something simultaneously complex and simple. There will also be a special performance by Bahama Woodstarr at 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.popopstudios.com.
"Writers of Light: Beyond Our View", a photography exhibition that showcases College of The Bahamas student work, takes place Thursday, April 18 at 4:00 p.m at Chapter One Bookstore.
"26.6 N-78.7 W", an exhibition by Del Foxton, Susan Moir Mackey and Boryana Korcheva, opens Thursday, April 18 at 4 Martel Place, Bell Channel in Freeport, Grand Bahama. For more information, contact Susan Moir Mackey at firstname.lastname@example.org or (242) 353-4333 or 602-2014.
"Bubbles", new work by Antonius Roberts, continues at The Central Bank Art Gallery. The gallery is open Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This work will be on display until Friday, April 26.
All-star Amateur Artist (AAA) Artwork: "NE6: Kingdome Come" Edition continues at the The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Amateur artists were asked to create works that relate to the distinct sections, Identity, Spirituality & Balance, Justice, Transformation and Survival.
"2 Points of View", featuring work from Eleanor Whitely and Kendal Hanna, continues at Popopstudios International Center for the Visual Arts in Chippingham. For more information, visit popopstudios.com or call 322-7834.
"Kaleidoscope III", an exhibition by the Bahamas Union of Teachers and the Bahamas Association of Art Educators, is featured at the Treasury Building on East Street. The exhibit will feature works by art instructors from both private and public schools throughout The Bahamas.
"Single Sex", an all-female portrait show depicting only female subjects, continues at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. NAGB Curator John Cox says it is meant to stand in dialogue with the "Master Artists of The Bahamas" exhibition (later this year), which has no female representation. For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email email@example.com or call 328-5800/1.
"Matters of the Heart" a Salus Project art exhibition continues at the Ladder Gallery, New Providence Community Centre, Blake Road.
"Peace & Love: Writings on the Wall", an exhibition of recent work by Stan Burnside continues at the Stan Burnside Gallery, Tower Heights, Eastern Road. They are available to view by appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The Permanent Exhibition of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, displaying pieces under the theme "The Bahamian Landscape", continues this week at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Gallery hours: Tue. - Sat. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Sun. noon - 4 p.m. Admission $5 adults; $3 students/seniors; children under 12 are free. For more information, visit www.nagb.org.bs, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 328-5800/1.
Lectures and Readings
Ceramicist Alistair D. Stevenson will share his experiences working and traveling in China in a special digital presentation "Talkin' Bout China" Friday, April 19 at 6 p.m. at Doongalik Studios Art Gallery on Village Road. For more information, please contact: Alistair D. Stevenson at 448-7209 or email@example.com or Doongalik Studios at 394-1886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Netica Symonette launches her book, "A Girl Called Nettie: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship and Love" on Friday, April 26 at 6 p.m. at Casuarinas of Cable Beach on West Bay Street. The book is an intimate account of Symonette's personal life over the past seven decades, breaking barriers and blazing trails. RSVP at 327-7921.
The College of The Bahamas hosts the 20th Anniversary of the South Eastern African American Collegiate Music Festival Grand Finale Concert on Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the college's Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are $25 and are available at Chapter One Bookstore.
Bahamas FilmInvest International will host the 5th Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase in June at Galleria Cinemas. This year's showcase will feature 29 feature films, documentaries, animations and children's films, with a special tribute being paid to the 40th anniversary of Bahamian independence.
Islandz, having acquired Downtown Art Tours, offers its Islandz Gallery Hop tours, examining art spaces downtown on Saturdays. Tickets are $20 per person for the two-hour tour. For more information or to book tickets, call 601-7592 or visit Islandz online at www.islandzmarket.com.
Tru Bahamian food tours offers a "Bites of Nassau" food tasting and cultural walking tour to connect people with authentic local food items, stories and traditions behind the foods and the Bahamians that prepare and preserve them, through a hands-on, interactive, educational tour and culinary adventure. Tickets are $69 per person, $49 for children under 12. Tours are everyday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., starting at the British Colonial Hilton and ending at Tortuga Rum Cake Company. For more information, visit www.trubahamianfoodtours.com.
Call for works
The Bahamas National Trust presents its Conchservation Campaign Logo Competition. Logos should be simple; easy to read; able to stand along without text and scalable. Designs will be judged on originality, simplicity, memorability and relevance. Entries should also include a brief explanation of the rationale behind the design and can be sent to email@example.com. The deadline is for submission is 5 p.m. on April 24, 2013.
Family Guardian's annual Calendar Photo Contest is open to all Bahamian photographers, under the theme "A Celebration of Bahamian Pastimes". The deadline for entries is July 12. For more information, visit http://www.familyguardian.com.
The 10th Annual Bahamas International Film Festival invites filmmakers from around the worls to submit their narratives, documentaries, worls cinema, short films, animation and family films. This year's festival takes place December 5-13 on New Providence and Eleuthera. The deadline is July 17. For more information, visit http://bintlfilmfest.com.
The 30th Annual Central Bank of The Bahamas Art Competition and Exhibition invites entries for its Open Category under the theme "The Independents", in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Bahamian independence, which is being celebrated this year. The objectives of the competition are to identify, recognize and encourage Bahamian visual artists. To qualify, participants must be citizens of The Bahamas, aged 18 or older (as of October 1, 2013) and not registered in secondary school. The Open/Senior Category Competition and Exhibition component will be held from Tuesday, October 1 to Friday, November 1. Artists under 30 years are especially encouraged to embrace this opportunity of the theme of "The Independents" as a challenge in terms of material and/or the role and responsibilities of independent thinking in art in The Bahamas, as well as, thinking of the larger political symbolism of independence of the country.
This column was originally published on February 9, 2010
Andros Island, the fifth largest island in the Caribbean, and larger than many CARICOM countries, is big and long. It boasts one of the largest national parks in the region, one of the world’s largest barrier reefs and a magnificent Tongue of the Ocean with a 6,000 foot drop-off.
From the Bahamas National Trust: “As one of the least populated regions in the Caribbean Basin, Andros Island and its myriad of tidal creeks, interconnected lakes, mud flats and mangroves support some of the largest populations of underwater life in the region.”
Both the Central Andros National Park and the west side of Andros are areas of ...
On Saturday, October 29, the Bahamas National Trust will open its gates for the 21st Annual Wine and Art Festival. The annual festival features over 50 talented artists, a selection of over 50 wines from Bristol Wines and Spirits and a new feature this year, a wine and food pairing area sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism's Culinary Tourism Division.
BNT members will get a special preview of the art and a chance to bid on unique marine-themed silent auction items at the Wishing Fish Auction on Friday evening, October 28. This special evening for BNT members is sponsored by Gourmet Market and Food Art By Cacique and Bristol Wines and Spirits.
"We are extremely grateful to our sponsors," says Eric Carey, BNT executive director. "Their support allows us to show our appreciation for our members at this special evening. The Wishing Fish Auction provides artists with the opportunity to design and decorate wooden fish in their own unique style. All proceeds from the auction will be used in support of the BNT's marine conservation initiatives."
"The Wine and Art Festival provides Bristol Wines and Spirits with a great opportunity to introduce the public to new wines that we will be offering this holiday season," comments Rusty Scates, wine manager for Bristol Wines and Spirits.
Patrons attending the festival this year will have an opportunity to taste Asti Winery's Cellar's range of eight wines with the Chardonnay and Zinfindel being featured, Pine and Post Wines from Washington State featuring a Reisling and Merlot and Flip Flop Wines from California offering their Chardonnay and Carbernet Sauvignon.
One of the special features of the Wine and Art Festival is special guests from the participating wineries. This year Julian Inarra from the Trivento
Winery in Argentina will be on hand to discuss the wines produced by his winery.
A new feature at this year's Wine and Art Festival will be a food and wine pairing demonstration sponsored by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism's Culinary Tourism Division. Featuring three of the finest chefs in The Bahamas who are all members of the Bahamas Culinary Association, the area will help you learn what wine should be served with what dish.
Jamal Small, Team Captain of the National Culinary Team 2011 and Private Chef in the Exuma Cays, will feature a Cassava Gnocchi with roasted root vegetables in a fennel cream sauce. Emmanuel Gibson, National Culinary Team from the One & Only Ocean Club, will demonstrate a fish dish - plantain-crusted grouper. Alexandra Maillis Lynch of Alexandra's Catering and August Moon will guide attendees through the process of roasting a pig in plantain leaf. Local produce will be featured in each recipe in conjunction with BAIC, and all ingredients will be locally grown, inclusive of the grouper and the pig.
A number of well-known caterers and restaurants will be providing food throughout the day, such as Gourmet Markets and Food Art by Cacique, August Moon Café, Konfetti Kreations, Glorious Foods, Citrus Catering and a special booth featuring Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream.
"We are once again thrilled to have many outstanding artists participating in the Festival," says Lynn Gape, deputy executive director of the BNT.
New artists participating this year are Judith Papillon, Tori Hermann, Kandice Eldon, Candis Marshall, Morgan McKinney, and Shelby Knowles.
We also have a large contingent from Abaco traveling to be with us this year," says Gape. "We are very happy to have Kim Rody, Jo-ann and Peter Bradley, Marjolein Scott, Jeep Beyers and Bob Zwickel joining us again this year."
Annual favorites will also be participating and patrons will have a chance to visit with Thierry Lamare, Jonathon Bethel, Toby Lunn, John Paul, Trevor Tucker, Marco Mullings, Nicole Angelica, Malcolm Rae, Kim Smith, Tiffany Barrett, Peter Otim Angole and Imogene Walkine.
According to Lynn Gape, the festival began 21 years ago with just 20 artists and each year it has grown. Today, the festival features over 50 artists and is a great place to see a variety of artistic styles. Many media are represented and not surprisingly the Bahamian environment is the subject of many of the paintings.
The BNT's Wine and Art Festival is a great event to learn about wine and view wonderful art, so be sure to attend this very special event on Saturday, October 29, 12 noon to 6 p.m. at The Retreat on Village Road. BNT members pay $15 and the general public $20. All proceeds support the national park system of The Bahamas.
Contact Lynn Gape at firstname.lastname@example.org or 393-1317 for more information.
KINGSTON, Jamaica - It's hard to imagine that Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the darling of the entire Caribbean, has never stepped foot on the sunny islands of The Bahamas.
This May, she intends to change that by taking part in the inaugural International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Relay Championships, and the compact World and Olympic Champion is looking forward to the trip.
Winning four of the past five sprint global titles outdoors in the 100 meters (m), and by adding a 60m indoor title this year, the Jamaican national record holder is unquestionably the number one female sprinter in the world right now. Inclusive of relays, she has eight global gold medals since her OIympic debut in Beijing, China.
Her coach Stephen Francis calls her the greatest female sprinter over 100m in the history of athletics. With the hardware she has racked up in just a short period of time, it would be difficult to dispute that. In short, no other woman has done what she did, particularly in the 100m over the past six years. Still, the 27-year-old petite 'pocket rocket', as she is called by her many fans, remains as humble as ever, while still focussing on getting better.
"I'm driven from the inside and from certain circumstances what happened in my life. I don't pay attention to where I fall in history. I just want to continue to get better, and leave the sport better than I found it," said Fraser-Pryce. "I'm reserved. I try to stay away from being looked at as number one - just try to remain humble and grounded. Even after I won the three gold medals in Moscow (2013 World Championships), when I got back to my room, I was like, 'how am I possibly going to top this'. My husband says that I never enjoy anything, but enjoyment will come in time. I just want to continue to get better, and ensure that other young athletes could see that you need to work hard and you need to stay grounded and focussed to get to the top. The sky is the limit."
Fraser-Pryce leads by example. After pulling up to her morning workout last Thursday in her Mercedes jeep, she turned on her Bob Marley music through her head phones, and then engaged in an intense training session.
Francis, the head coach of the Maximizing Velocity and Power (MVP) Track Club, has the ultimate confidence in her.
"Stephen is a wonderful man. He looks rough, but inside he is soft-hearted," said Fraser-Pryce. "I admire him for the fact that he believes in me so much, and I believe in him as well. It's a two-way thing. For you to reap the rewards, you have to pay attention to the coach. I've always listened to him. He has not guided me wrong.
"I just want to continue to pave the way for the young men and women in our society. There is many more to come from Shelly-Ann. I still want to run 21 seconds, and I still want to go under 10.7, so I am still set on working hard, being grounded, and just trusting God to give me the strength and the health to do the things that I need to do."
Fraser-Pryce has personal best times of 10.70 seconds and 22.09 seconds in the 100 and 200m respectively. The 100m time is a national record for Jamaica. The world record in the century, her best event, is a blistering 10.49 seconds, set by the late Florence Griffith-Joyner 26 years ago.
"If I told you I didn't think about 10.49, I would be lying, but I'm one of those persons who believe that in order for me to think about a 10.49, I would have to get to a 10.6, and I would have to get to a 10.5," she said. "As it stands now, I'm not even at 10.6 yet. Until I get there, I try not to focus on the 10.49.
"I definitely believe in my heart that I'm a 10.6 sprinter, but nothing happens before its time. I just have to continue to work."
Fraser-Pryce said that she's very competitive when pitted against her rivals such as American Carmelita Jeter, but she's friendly as well.
"When we are competing against each other, we would walk past each other and don't say anything, but when we would have finished, we would stop and have a conversation. I would tell her that I admire her and she would say that she admires me, and stuff like that," said Fraser-Pryce. "It's a healthy rivalry. I like running against the U.S. They have been dominant for so many years, but we (Jamaica) are here now, and we have much more success to come."
Fraser-Pryce said that when she first started winning races, she discovered what her potential was, and how much better she could be if she continued to work hard.
"I knew what was expected of me," said Fraser-Pryce. "It's very hard to stay at the top, but you just have to keep working.
"I remember first walking through the tunnel at 'Champs' (Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association Boys and Girls Athletics Championships), and being nervous. This shows how far I have come in the sport. I understand and analyze someone's start, technique, and the amount of power they are getting from the blocks.
"At my first 'Champs' I was very excited. I made final and finished seventh. The adrenaline was flowing, but after the race I was excited and proud. The Olympics has shown you that you need to be calm and relaxed. 'Champs' has paved the way for a lot of us, and for me, it taught me how to handle certain situations."
Coincidentally, 'Champs' wrapped up on Saturday at the national stadium here in Jamaica, two days after the interview. Fraser-Pryce, who represented Wolmer's Girls at 'Champs' during her high school career, even provided a bit of commentary during the five-day meet. Whereas full-time commentating as an analyst is quite possible once her athletic career would have concluded, Fraser-Pryce said that she highly doubts that she would go into coaching, because she sees the stress that Coach Francis go through on a daily basis, and doesn't know if she can go through the same thing. For now, she's just enjoying her time commentating at 'Champs'.
"Champs is just awesome. I really love it and can't help but to make noise. I'm one of those fans who get my nails done in school colors. I'm big on style, and I focus on what I like."
Fraser-Pryce's animated style has translated right over into her senior career. She is always seen on the tour, or at big meets, with an assortment of hair styles which separates her from the rest. As a matter of fact, it was at her hair salon, Chic Hair Ja in Kingston, where she gave the interview to reporters last Thursday.
"It's not just that I love hair, I have a passion to create jobs," she said, vowing to bring in a barber in short order as well. "A lot of young men and ladies in Jamaica have degrees and are sitting at home because there are no jobs. If I can create a business so that other persons can get employment, then that's healthy for me and for Jamaicans."
Despite accomplishing it all outdoors over the past six years outdoors, this year could have a special meaning in Fraser-Pryce's career, in that she has already won the world indoor title in the 60m in her first year running indoors, she could run in the Commonwealth Games for the first time, and she is expected to be competing in the inaugural world relays in what would be her first trip to The Bahamas.
She spoke about how excited she is to be coming to The Bahamas.
"I have no idea of what The Bahamas looks like, but I can't wait to experience the culture and enjoy the championships there," she said. "I like the beach, not so much to go in the water because I can't swim, but just to sit on the beach and drink a martini and chill.
"I just hope that Jamaica fields more than one team because we have the depth. I'm not a huge fan of relays because there is always some controversy as to who will run what leg but this particular event should be a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to it, just going there and getting it done in The Bahamas. Relays are always exciting, and being a part of this first championship is very huge. I would love to be there to see what unfolds."
The world relays is set for May 24-25, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
At home in Jamaica, Fraser-Pryce's typical day is inclusive of her early training session at 6:30 every morning, taking her five-year-old niece to school at times, dropping by the hair salon, going to the gym around midday, getting a massage if needed, and then back for a second workout in the evenings. At times, she would have photo sessions, shoot commercials, and watch a movie if time permits. Her favorite TV shows are the Jamie Foxx and Steve Harvey shows.
As for her Pocket Rocket Foundation, it is geared toward assisting student-athletes in getting scholarships for secondary and tertiary level education.
"We're just trying to alleviate some of the stress and the problems that they face," said Fraser-Pryce. "When I started high school, I was blessed to have a woman assist me financially. She saw something in me that I didn't even see, and started to fund my education, my books, my lunch... everything.
"At that point, I didn't want anyone to feel sorry for Shelly-Ann, but she showed me compassion and love in so many ways and that in a way made me obligated to do the same thing to other athletes who are coming from impoverished situations. They are here, and a lot of their parents can't afford to send them to school so that they could become better individuals."
Fraser-Pryce's foundation gave out seven scholarships to deserving student-athletes last year.
"It has been really remarkable to see the progress that they have made, especially in the school area," said Fraser-Pryce. "We don't just hand out the checks, but be there for them emotionally as well. The foundation has given me a platform to cause a change for young Jamaicans. I just hope to get more sponsors to come on board so that we could give out more scholarships. These young kids are talented and bright.... they are just unable to pay their way through school."
On two of her tattoos, one on each wrist - one has the word 'hope' on it, and the other has the word 'faith' on it.
"I'm big on faith and hope. Everything that I hope for in life, I have faith that God will provide it for me," said Fraser-Pryce. "I still have a lot of work to do to get where I want to go. I understand what hard work does. I just have to remain dedicated and put in the work."
Apart from track and field, Fraser-Pryce said that she has grown to like football and cricket, but has an appreciation for all sports.
The first in a series of lectures was held recently at the Harry C. Moore Library at The College of the Bahamas, where there was a lively discussion on the whole concept of freedom of information.
To date, ineffective freedom of information legislation, limited access to environmental decisions and even less public participation in the decision-making process, has made the task of getting information regarding governmental decisions quite difficult.
But, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
"Our Right to Know" is a multi-perspective lecture series sponsored by The College of the Bahamas and NGOs Save the Bays, BREEF and the Bahamas National Trust. The series has charged head on into the fray with an initial lecture series on the Freedom of Information Act and the Latin American and Caribbean regional instrument on Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration and their importance for government transparency.
The series, set to focus on pressing environmental law and policy issues, held its first lecture on October 22 in the library.
Lecturers included retired Justice Jeanne Thompson, Assistant Professor at The College of The Bahamas Lisa Benjamin and Dawson Malone, Eugene Dupuch Law School graduate of Callenders & Co.
Retired Justice Thompson started off the forum with an in depth look at the Freedom of Information Bill. With an absurdly long shelf life, The Freedom of Information Bill has sat through two successive governments, only to yield a bill with noted deficiencies.
As Justice Thompson took audience members through the bill's wording, cogent problems such as the lack of access to judicial or quasi-judicial bodies to challenge decisions made by ministers became increasingly apparent.
Further, Justice Thompson exposed the lack of a definition of "public interest". This is important because information concerning the public interest forms certain exemptions to information which would otherwise be excluded from disclosure. Justice Thompson asked, "How do we interpret any of these clauses if there is no definition of public interest?"
"What we seem to be left with is an act with no teeth," said Thompson. "We would still be in a position waiting for a whistle blower to let us know what is going on."
The second panelist, Lisa Benjamin, led spectators to consider the international perspectives on access to environmental decisions through the Aarhus Convention and the ongoing regional negotiation on Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration by Latin American and Caribbean States.
According to Benjamin, "The Aarhus Convention, which has not been signed or ratified by The Bahamas, is the only binding international convention that enshrines the three pillars of environmental democracy: Access to justice, access to Information and public participation."
Urging audience members to put more pressure on the Bahamian government to incorporate these principles into domestic law, Benjamin outlined the accountability the convention places on respective governments.
"Parties to the Aarhus Convention are bound by international law to incorporate the principles of access to justice, access to information and public participation in their domestic law to afford their citizens access to the decisions making process concerning environmental sustainability".
While Aarhus has been signed and ratified by 47 countries mainly centered in Europe, eighteen countries in the Caribbean and Latin American have adopted a regional approach to the institutionalization of access to information, access to justice and public participation.
The Declaration on the Application of Principle 10 on the Rio Declaration of Environment and Development (CELAC), signed by countries like Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Vincent & Grenadines and the Dominican Republic, launched the way toward developing a regional instrument on access to environmental information, public participation and justice in June 2012.
The declaration has since gained traction through a series of negotiations and plans that have culminated in the Lima Vision for a Regional Instrument on Access Rights Relating to the Environment in October 2013.
In response to this vision, Caribbean and Latin American countries have since developed national legislation reflecting passive access to information, active access to information and arguably most importantly, the government's responsibility to disseminate information to the general public.
On the regional instrument Benjamin noted, "It is important to build a citizenry that is informed on sustainable development". Benjamin ended the presentation by emphasizing the need for countries like The Bahamas, where sustainable development is an important issue, to incorporate these international and regional conventions to make the government accountable.
The final speaker of the evening, Dawson Malone brought the debate home by placing the discussions of the Freedom of Information Act and international instruments on environmental democracy in the context of the largely controversial Bimini Bay development project.
Dawson explained the need for a viable Freedom of Information Act to prevent environmentally disastrous developments, stating, "If I am relying on access to the court to vindicate my rights, I must have information to do so".
The case against the Bimini Bay development project was unfortunately lost due to a number of factors. Dawson said, "It's difficult to say the decisions made by the court to go through with the development was access to justice."
Dawson emphasized the major pitfall in the case was the lack of information available to the public to stop the development in time.
"In order not to render your constitutional rights obtuse, you must have a Freedom of Information Act," he said.
"Our Right to Know" will continue the debate with the second part of the series on November 19th, 2014 in the Harry C. Moore Library.
NASSAU, Bahamas - This past holiday weekend, 155 visitors descended upon Primeval Forest National Park in Nassau for a family fun day to celebrate National Heroes Day.
Tucked away in the southwest portion of New Providence, Primeval Forest features dramatic sinkholes, unique limestone caverns and an impressive 150 year-old, old growth forest.
Visiting families were treated to adventure tours of the park during the fun day.
During the event, in addition to adventure tours, children were treated to story time and great learning activities.
The family fun day was such a success that the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) had to add several tours and additional story times to accommodate the families attending the fun day.
Shenica Campbell, Deputy Park Warden for New Providence noted, "The day was filled with a sense of adventure and merriment for our visitors because many of them never knew that such a robust forested park with amazing unique features existed in New Providence."
My Fellow Bahamians:
Tonight I address you on the eve of a momentous day.
Tomorrow Bahamians will go to the polls and participate in a free, democratic and fair election. As this country makes its choices on its path into the future, we must also look back and thank God for the gifts he has given us.